Last week, we had the pleasure of exhibiting at Fire Safety Week 2023 at the NEC. The event brought together industry experts, professionals, and stakeholders to discuss the latest advancements and challenges in fire safety. It served as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for greater training and modernisation in the fire door industry and the wider fire safety industry. As we reflect on the insights gained during Fire Safety Week, we are more determined than ever to raise the bar for fire door training and contribute to a safer future for all.
The fire door training industry stands at a critical juncture, as traditional methods of training have become increasingly outdated and insufficient. UK Fire Door Training recognises this need for change and has taken it upon ourselves to lead the way in modernisation, robustness, and the adoption of greater pedagogy. It’s time for the industry to embrace the 21st century and move towards a more comprehensive and effective approach.
Setting the Standard for the Fire Door Training Sector
UK Fire Door Training is committed to setting the standard for the fire door training sector. Our focus on interactive e-learning is instrumental in knowledge retention and closing the skills gap. By offering a diverse range of training resources, we can cater to various learning styles and promote deeper understanding and mastery of essential skills. This commitment to excellence ensures that our learners are well-equipped to excel in their roles and contribute to the overall safety and security of buildings and their occupants.
Our dedication to innovation has led us to develop a world-class Learning Management System (LMS). This comprehensive platform includes industry-leading interactive courses, technical information and documents, industry insights, and live feedback. Furthermore, our LMS facilitates collaboration and peer-to-peer learning, enabling learners to share experiences, exchange ideas, and learn from each other’s perspectives. We understand that ongoing support, lifetime access, and regular updates are crucial for learners to stay current with industry developments and maintain their skills, and our LMS is designed to deliver these benefits seamlessly.
UK Fire Door Training is excited to announce that this summer we will be launching of our brand new, state-of-the-art training facility: The National Fire Door Training Academy.
This cutting-edge academy is designed to provide the ultimate learning environment for fire door professionals, combining innovative technology with hands-on practical experiences.
Our new facility boasts advanced training rooms, equipment, and dedicated practical areas where learners can engage with fire door installations, inspections, and maintenance tasks. The National Fire Door Training Academy will offer a comprehensive curriculum, encompassing everything from foundational courses to advanced certifications and continuous professional development opportunities.
By establishing this academy, we aim to set a new benchmark for fire door training, reinforcing our commitment to innovation, collaboration, and excellence. The National Fire Door Training Academy will not only serve as a hub for learning and skill development but also a platform for industry stakeholders to come together, share knowledge, and drive continuous improvement in fire door safety. We are thrilled to lead the way in shaping the future of fire door training and to welcome professionals from all over the country to join us in our mission to build a safer future.
The Importance of E-Learning
One of the most significant shifts in the fire door training industry is the increasing emphasis on e-learning. E-learning offers numerous advantages, including accessibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. With the rapid advancements in technology and the growing demand for flexible learning options, e-learning has emerged as a vital component of effective training. By providing high-quality e-learning resources at fair prices, we can reach a wider audience and ensure that essential knowledge and skills are accessible to everyone, regardless of their location, time constraints, or financial situation.
E-learning also allows for personalised learning experiences tailored to individual needs, enabling learners to progress at their own pace and revisit content as needed. This adaptability is particularly beneficial in the fire door training industry, where learners come from diverse backgrounds and possess varying levels of experience and expertise.
At UK Fire Door Training, we believe that a hybrid approach, which combines e-learning with classroom training and live-action practical training, represents an important role in the future of the industry. This combination ensures that learners receive a well-rounded education that addresses various learning styles and preferences. Interactive e-learning modules can provide foundational knowledge and theoretical understanding, while classroom training allows for in-depth discussions, collaboration, and clarification of complex concepts. Live-action practical training, on the other hand, offers learners the opportunity to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios, develop hands-on skills, and gain invaluable experience under the guidance of seasoned professionals. However, the idea that this should be the only form of training in the fire door training sector is naive as I will soon explain.
We should however recognise that this comprehensive approach to training is something to aim for and needs to ensure that learners receive an engaging and effective education without being subjected to overly long or overpriced programmes. By balancing online learning with in-person instruction and practical experience, we can create a training model that maximises knowledge retention, skill development, and overall value for learners, setting a new standard for the fire door training industry.
Casting the Net as Far Wide as Possible
While practical training might be considered the holy grail for fire door training, it is not entirely feasible. Nor should it be dogmatically viewed as the only suitable form of training or even the best. With over 3 million new fire doors manufactured and installed every year in the UK, a significant portion are installed by subcontractors who have little incentive to train staff that may move on to a new firm at any moment. In an industry where targets and schedules rule the day, it is unrealistic for every carpentry company to send a group of their best subbies off to a training centre for several days.
Furthermore, it is entirely unacceptable to suggest that a competent, qualified carpenter should go on a practical training course at all. At best, it is a misguided approach, and at worst, it is insulting to a seasoned professional, patronising, and a waste of time. The vast majority of people who install fire doors in the UK are competent carpenters who are simply unaware of the laws, standards, regulations, and certifications relating to fire doors. On a practical training course, you are not going to teach a professional carpenter how to use a chisel, jig, or router tool—they already know how to do those things!
The aim is to help them understand the mistakes they are making and how to avoid them in the future to protect more lives and property.
By providing high-quality e-learning to competent carpenters at a reasonable price, we can cast the net as far wide as possible to ensure that knowledge and skills are improved across the industry en masse. Those who insist on practical training are naive and reckless; it seems that they would rather have a minuscule number of highly qualified and knowledgeable people in the fire door industry (quite how they would visit all of the millions of fire doors in the country is beyond comprehension) and gatekeeping it to a select few who can sit on LinkedIn and criticise what they see as poor workmanship. This approach is unproductive and lazy.
First and foremost, training should focus on knowledge acquisition. Skills without knowledge are doomed to fail. Knowledge and theory-based learning should come first, followed by skill development. This is where practical training can play a valuable role in complementing and reinforcing the knowledge gained through e-learning.
Promoting Active Learning
Passive learning methods, such as booklets and webinars, have been shown to be less effective than active learning approaches. Many reputable UK bodies have endorsed the importance of active learning, and we have incorporated this philosophy into our training programmes. By utilising various learning techniques, including simulations, quizzes, and hands-on exercises, we can engage learners and encourage them to think critically, problem-solve, and apply their newfound knowledge and skills in real-world contexts. For example don’t just tell learners about fire door certificate data sheets, but get them to explain why they are important, how to find them online and then demonstrate this.
By engaging learners in interactive e-learning experiences, we can ensure that they are not just passively absorbing information but are actively applying their newfound knowledge and skills. This approach not only improves knowledge retention but also empowers learners to take ownership of their education and growth. As a result, our learners are better prepared to tackle the challenges they will encounter in their professional lives, ultimately contributing to a safer and more secure built environment.
At UK Fire Door Training, we recognise the immense responsibility that comes with shaping the future of the fire door training industry. Through our unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and active learning, we strive to create a learning experience that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our learners and the wider industry. Together, we can build a safer future for all.
Combating the Forgetting Curve
One of the most significant challenges in any learning environment is combating the forgetting curve, a phenomenon describing how the memory of new information declines over time if not reinforced. Traditional training methods often fall short in this regard, as information is quickly forgotten after the training session has ended. UK Fire Door Training’s emphasis on ongoing support and lifetime access helps learners overcome this obstacle and retain essential knowledge and skills.
By offering ongoing support and lifetime access to materials, we provide learners with the tools and resources they need to stay engaged and up-to-date with industry best practices. This continuous learning model enables learners to revisit content as needed, reinforcing their understanding and keeping their skills sharp.
The Limitations of One-Day Classroom Training Sessions
One-day training sessions possess inherent limitations as they fail to afford learners sufficient time to process and reflect on their acquired knowledge. The brevity of these sessions impedes learners’ ability to internalise and fully comprehend the material presented. Without ample time for consolidation, learners may struggle to connect new information with existing knowledge frameworks. Moreover, the absence of a post-training reflection period prevents individuals from critically evaluating their learning experience and identifying areas for improvement. Complex subjects necessitate more prolonged engagement to enable learners to partake in meaningful discussions, practice newfound skills, and apply their understanding in practical scenarios. Extended-duration training programmes, therefore, offer the requisite space for learners to digest and assimilate information, fostering a deeper understanding that enhances knowledge retention and facilitates the transfer of skills into real-world contexts.
Furthermore, recognising the importance of lifelong learning, providing learners with lifetime access to resources and ongoing support is paramount. By granting individuals unlimited access to training materials and supplementary resources, learners can revisit the content at their own pace, reinforcing their understanding over an extended period. Moreover, ongoing support ensures that learners have a dedicated source of guidance and assistance, enabling them to seek clarifications, address questions, and delve deeper into the subject matter even after the completion of the training programme. This commitment to continuous learning empowers individuals to stay updated with evolving trends and developments in their field, fostering professional growth and adaptability. By combining comprehensive training with lifetime access and ongoing support, learners can embark on a transformative educational journey that transcends the confines of a single-day session.
By addressing the limitations of traditional one-day classroom sessions and focusing on a more comprehensive and engaging learning experience, UK Fire Door Training is helping to bridge the skills gap and raise the standards for fire door training. Our commitment to providing robust, interactive, and continuous learning opportunities not only benefits individual learners but also contributes to the overall safety and effectiveness of fire door installations across the industry.
Outdated and Ineffective: The Shortcomings of Booklet-Based Learning
The use of booklets as a primary method of fire door training is an antiquated and feeble approach that fails to meet the demands of a modern, dynamic industry. Relying on these static, lifeless pages to convey complex information and best practices is akin to expecting a horse-drawn carriage to compete with a high-speed train. Booklets are woefully inadequate in engaging learners, promoting critical thinking, or facilitating practical skill development. In an age where interactive and immersive learning experiences are readily available, clinging to booklets as a training tool is not only stubbornly regressive but also a disservice to the learners and the industry as a whole. By discarding these relics of the past and embracing innovative, active learning methods, we can better equip fire door professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to ensure the safety and security of our built environment.
The Hackitt Review and Building a Safer Future
The Hackitt Review and the Competence Steering Group’s ‘Setting the Bar’ document, have brought much-needed attention to the importance of fire safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. These documents emphasise the need for enhanced competence, training, and oversight in the fire safety sector, making it crucial for the fire door training industry to evolve and improve in order to meet these heightened expectations.
UK Fire Door Training is committed to integrating the recommendations of these reports into our training programmes. By aligning our training with industry best practices and standards, we can contribute to a safer future for all. We believe that the industry must work together to achieve these goals and ensure that the lessons of the past are not forgotten. This collaboration extends to sharing knowledge, learning from one another, and striving for continuous improvement in our training methods and outcomes.
The Importance of Collaboration and Ending the Mudslinging
Collaboration within the fire door training industry is crucial. Stakeholders, such as regulatory bodies, industry associations, manufacturers, and trainers, must work together to establish consistent standards, share best practices, and address emerging challenges. By fostering cooperation and communication, the industry can develop a unified approach to training, ultimately promoting public safety and confidence in fire door professionals.
It is high time that we, as an industry, put aside petty rivalries and unproductive mudslinging. Instead, we should focus on nurturing a collaborative environment that prioritises the common goal of enhancing fire safety. By pooling our collective knowledge and resources, we can develop more effective training programmes, identify, and address knowledge gaps, and improve overall industry standards.
We challenge our fellow industry professionals to embrace this collaborative spirit, recognising that when we work together, we can achieve far more than when we work in isolation. Let us unite in our commitment to continuous improvement and dedicate ourselves to making the fire door training industry more robust, modern, and effective. In doing so, we can ensure the safety and well-being of those who rely on our expertise and contribute to building a safer future for all.
The fire door training industry stands at a crossroads, with the opportunity to embrace innovation, collaboration, and a renewed commitment to quality. By adopting modern training methods, such as e-learning, interactive experiences, and practical application, we can ensure that fire door professionals are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their field. The Hackitt Review and “Building a Safer Future” report serve as important reminders of the stakes involved in our work, and it is our collective responsibility to rise to the challenge.
As we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in fire door training, let us not forget the importance of working together and learning from one another. By fostering a spirit of collaboration, we can drive the industry forward and create a safer future for all. At UK Fire Door Training, we are proud to be at the forefront of this evolution, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to setting the highest standards for our industry. Together, we can make a lasting impact and build a legacy of safety, competence, and excellence.